A late Summer Update

Hi all,
Maybe you’re rubbing the beach sand from your eyes or once and for all rinsing the chlorine from your pool hair. Summer is drawing to a close. I’m actually not sad about that.  But I am somewhat dreading the accelerated pace that the school calendar brings.  So, since I’m finally opening my calendar again, I thought I’d take a just a few minutes to update you on my writing endeavors.
Refugee is Not My Name has experienced huge success this summer.  http://refugeeisnotmyname.com Ashley St.Clair (photos), Aaron Weiss (film) and I exhibited the the show at the brand new downtown Austin central library all summer long.  Hundreds and hundreds of people saw and experienced the exhibit.  We heard and felt their positive reactions all over social media.  The Austin American Statesman ran an article about it.  https://www.mystatesman.com/entertainment/arts–theater/real-women-have-curves-play-comes-austin/dGbJCsILo2xdmM4Wn4jQnO/

In addition, Aaron and I were guests at the KOOP Austin radio station this July.  Ashley couldn’t make it that day for the interview, but Aaron and I talked about our inspiration in creating the exhibit, as well as personal highlights. You can listen to that interview here: https://www.radiofreeamerica.com/show/volumes-koop-radio
This summer a fellow creative, Nelson Guda also hosted Ashley, Aaron and myself on his podcast, Unbound.  We invited one of the participants from the project, Jasmin Kalic to join the podcast interview.  Jasmin is a refugee from Bosnia.  He adds a distinctive voice to the project, as he has now lived in Austin longer than he lived in Bosnia. He added humor and insight to that podcast.
The next stop for Refugee is Not My Name is on the EAST tour.  http://east.bigmedium.org/
EAST is held in Austin Nov. 10-11 and then again from Nov. 17-18. Refugee is Not My Name will be open and accessible to the public during those two weekends that celebrate Austin art.
And then finally, Ashley, Aaron and I got confirmation that Refugee is Not My Name will be on display at the Texas State Capitol building in March, 2019!  This is an incredible honor.  Here you can see our exhibit listed on the official capitol calendar. https://tspb.texas.gov/plan/events/tcapcal.html
I cannot over emphasis what an honor this is for the three of us.  To have the faces and stories of these refugees seen before Texas lawmakers  and tourists will be a dream come true.
This fall, I am writing for various local magazines and doing some speaking engagements.  Keep in touch on social media. Or better yet, drop me a hand-written note in the mailbox.  I will treasure it.  Thanks for the love and support.


The Culmination of a Year and a Half of Creative Work

Hi friends,
There is so much evil lurking in the world…it’s tempting to allow myself to get paralyzed with fear or doubt in a supremely loving God.  But it’s now, more than ever, that we need examples of peace-keeping efforts to flood our news feeds.  We must be intentional. We need to dwell on all that is good, holy, praise-worthy and noble. (Phil 4:8)
It’s in that spirit that I want to share with you the culmination of a year and half of creative work between myself and photographer, Ashley St.Clair.  For over a year we have interviewed, photographed and shared life with recently resettled refugees in Austin.  We named our project, “Refugee is not My Name.”  The theme of our work is that all refugees share that label, but they each have a name. They are as special, unique and complicated as you and me.  They are as fiercely loved by God as my own children.  Do you believe that? I do!
Tribeza magazine ran a sample of our project in their community issue this month. If you haven’t yet, would you please read my article and short stories of these refugees?

But Ashley and I have always planned that our project would be a complete gallery exhibit.  And it’s happening next month here in Austin! On Thursday, March 22 from 5-8pm our project will be on full display at The Gallery at Lewis Carnegie. Come sip wine, gaze at stunning portrait photographs of refugees from 13 different countries, ranging from children to adults.  Let you heart by refueled by the enduring human spirit.  Let your compassion be reignited in a world gone mad with fear and violence.
Be there to give me a hug and let us spur one another on toward these three things which remain: faith, hope and love.  Get tickets for the exhibit here:

Here’s a behind the scenes photo from an interview Ashley and I did with Aya, a refugee from Syria.  She and her family are so thrilled that she’ll get a good education now that they are resettled in Austin. She wants to be a pediatrician one day.